Medal of Honor: European Assault PlayStation 2
Published by EA Games
Developed by Electronic Arts
Release Date: Out Now
Medal of Honor: European Assault, an introduction.
The Medal of Honor series has been an outstanding success for Electronic Arts. Gamers seemingly just can't get enough of World War II FPS games and over the years the Medal of Honor games have been amongst the best World War II based FPS games you can buy on any platform. The popularity of the series seems unlikely to wane as upon its release, Medal of Honor: European Assault has gone to the top of the sales charts here in the UK and seems likely to be there for a while. Let's take a look at the latest title in the series.
What's the game about?
Medal of Honor: European Assault sees the series returning to its European roots after the last few games in the series were largely based in Asia. The game isn't just the same old Medal of Honor though and you now have a small squad to control and you'll notice the missions are not quite as linear as they were in previous games. You'll play as US Army Lieutenant William Holt who assists in the plight to liberate Europe and fights at St. Nazaire, North Africa and Russia before ending up involved in The Battle of the Bulge. During the missions you'll be given the task of killing certain enemies. These tasks are usually optional though and can be avoided if you wish.
What's good about the game?
The main attraction with Medal of Honor: European Assault has to be the increased freedom you have in missions. Initially you'll only have the main objectives and maybe one secondary objective but by exploring the maps you'll come across hidden objectives that you can then complete if you wish. This kind of adds some incentive to play through the game again if you didn't do all the objectives the first time around. The squad control aspects of the game have thankfully been kept simple and don't get in the way of the action. You can order your 3 companions to move out and return to you. If you feel inclined to heal them you can do that too. What I will say about the 3 squad mates though is that they can behave strangely at times and don't always avoid situations that are obviously perilous to their health. The single-player campaign has four difficulty levels ranging from recruit to hero and these determine the amount of revives and medkits and the intelligence of your enemies. The controls are intuitive and will be familiar to those who have played previous games in the series. There's a choice of available control schemes so the chances are you can find one you'll feel comfortable with. The single-player campaign is actually very enjoyable and manages to hold your interest throughout but it will leave you wanting a lot more.
What's not so good about the game?
Perhaps the biggest disappointment is that the game won't take that long to complete. Even a newcomer to the series will struggle to make the single-player campaign last 10 hours and this is a little disappointing. Fortunately the game is very enjoyable so it's a case of being short and sweet rather than short and disappointing. European Assault has no online mode (only a multiplayer mode for 4 players via split-screen) and this also comes as a disappointment. You can only imagine how enjoyable an online co-operative mode would have been, while some Deathmatch or Team Deathmatch options would have definitely been a bonus but sadly it's not to be and you have to say it feels like a wasted opportunity.
How does it look?
The presentation of the game as a whole is great although the in-game graphics are not the greatest we've seen on the PlayStation 2. Missions are preceded by black and white movie clips from the war and the menus have a sepia tone to them to give the game a nostalgic kind of appearance and all this works really well. The look of the levels and character models are OK but there's nothing impressive here. Items that can be picked up such as medkits and ammunition have large icons over them which makes them easy to see from a distance. This gives the game more of an arcade appearance but it's actually a worthwhile change and it makes locating items much less irritating than in previous FPS games. The frame rate can dip a little at times when the action gets a hectic but thankfully it's never troublesome.
How deaf gamer friendly is the game?
Subtitles can be enabled in Medal of Honor: European Assault although they are turned off by default. With the subtitles enabled you'll have no problems following the story as all the cutscenes are subtitled using a bold white font that really stands out. All essential dialogue during the game is also shown in text so you'll always know what's going on. There's no colour coding of the text though and there's no names of the characters next to the speech so it's not always clear who is saying what. Objectives are shown in text and can be recalled at any time from the pause menu that appears when you press the start button. You'll also be notified when objectives have been completed. The compass shows you the direction of your primary and secondary objectives as well as your key enemies. All the information on the mission award screen is also shown in text. The game makes good use of icons and red arcs will inform you of the direction of enemy fire. You're also notified when squad members have died and you can check their health at any time by looking at the colour of the icon above their heads. When you lay charges, a timer will appear that shows you how much time you have to get as far away as possible.
Medal of Honor: European Assault is another great addition to the series. The single-player game is very enjoyable but sadly it's not long enough (although playing through on Hero difficulty level can take quite a while). Thankfully the hidden objectives add incentive to play the game through again but it is a shame that the game isn't longer. The multiplayer options also disappoint. I'm sure some (who own a Multitap and have 3 friends who want to play) will be happy with the 4-player split-screen options but most would have wanted an online mode but sadly it's not to be. Deaf gamers will be pleased by the level of support that European Assault offers and even though the campaign is short, it's enjoyable enough to make the game a worthwhile purchase.
Overall Game Rating: 7.9/10
Deaf Gamers Classification
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Medal of Honor: European Assault is a fine edition to the ever popular World War II FPS series but the single player campaign is short and there's no online play which comes as a disappointment.